I work at a regional university in the United States. Several years ago (before I arrived) our department admitted five years of doctoral students (approximately 50 students) as general admits to a distance doctoral program without assigning chairs.
Now those students are reaching comps and the dissertation. Four faculty left in the last year which is stressing our already over-capacity workloads.
Many students are interested in topics for which we have no faculty experts. We are going to hire a new faculty cohort in the next five years but there is no guarantee those faculty interests will match our students’.
Are faculty obligated to work with and graduate students we did not admit?
Is there a precedent for such a situation?